Senate Approves Budget Deal, Goes To President Next For Approval
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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — A budget spending plan has been approved by the Senate and is awaiting the signature of President Barack Obama for final approval.
The two-year budget agreement approved Wednesday will prevent a government shutdown in January. It will also end $63 billion in budget cuts that were mandated by the sequester.
Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray brokered the deal. According to CBS News, the Senate vote cleared 64-36 with nine Republicans joining 55 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents in the voting for the bill.
Last week the spending plan passed in the House with a strong bipartisan vote, but many Republicans in the Senate focused on a provision that gradually would reduce the cost-of-living adjustments for working-age military retirees by one percent beginning next December until they reach 62 years of age. Savings that will be used in part to restore billions to the Defense budget will also come from the measure that will save the federal government $6 billion.
Sen. Jeff Sessions said he and his staff discovered that pension cuts would still apply to service members who had been wounded and were now disabled causing opposition against the agreement to grow.
“It is unthinkable that this provision would be included in a deal that spares current civilian workers from the same treatment,” Sessions said, according to CBS News.
Murray said that it was a “technical error” which “will and should be addressed,” next year when the Senate returns.
Pension cuts won’t take place until 2016 after the bill expires, but Sen. Carl Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he will revisit the issue.
With this new deal, federal workers will be required to contribute more to their pensions.
According to CBS News, “to raise additional revenue, corporations will have to pay more to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. government contractor salaries will be capped at $487,000 annually, and security fees on airline tickets will rise from $5 to $11.20 for a typical round-trip ticket starting next July, among other things.”
Many people in Washington are claiming this deal is the first step in restoring normal order to a Congress that has had many disagreements.
“It is what the American people have called for: a compromise. And that means neither side got everything they wanted and both sides had to give a bit. But I’m hopeful… that this deal can be a foundation for future bipartisan work,” Murray said on the floor before the vote.